back to article Lawyer touts new legal time-bomb for Android

Every manufacturer using Android is in breach of the GPL, according to IP attorney Edward Naughton, though his last accusations didn't exactly run Android out of town. Last time it was a complex argument about how effectively Google had cleaned GPLv2-licensed header files, but this time the argument isn't so esoteric and could, …

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Vic
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Bullshit.

Why do you lot reprint bullshit from Edward Naughon? He's a Microsoft lawyer trying to stir up some FUD. And you are assisting him in that aim.

> The GPLv2 is pretty explicit that anyone failing to distribute source is in breach,

Bullshit.

The GPLv2 requires *either* that source be distributed with the binaries (section 3(a) ) *or* that a written offer valid for 3 years to distribute that source accompany those binaries. It does not matter that source is not immediately available - Naughton is just bullshitting. Again.

GPLv3 has very similar clauses in Section 6.

Come on, Bill, at least make a token effort towards journalism. Like readnig the licence you're claiming to be writing about.

Vic.

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Mushroom

RIF

Reading is fundamental.

Did you happen to follow the link:

http://www.codon.org.uk/~mjg59/android_tablets/

The point is either you ship the source, or make it available.

So if you don't ship it, you can easily set up a site for distribution.

Note this site isn't Naughton or Florian but set up by some guy named Mathew.

I would suggest you learn more about the law (tort and contract law) before you cry foul. In general I hate lawyers as much as most people here, but I do respect the law.

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Vic
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Here we go again...

> Reading is fundamental.

It most assuredly is.

> The point is either you ship the source, or make it available.

I thought you said reading was fundamental?

Here's section 3(b) of GPLv2 :-

"b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange;"

Show me where in that it says that you have to "ship the source, or make it available"...

> So if you don't ship it, you can easily set up a site for distribution.

You can. I would recommend any GPL distributors to do exactly that - it is by far the simplest method of compliance. But not doing so does *not* mean you are non-compliant - read the licence excert above to find out why.

> I would suggest you learn more about the law

And I would recommend exactly the same for you. As I did the last time you held forth on a subject you didn't understand.

Vic.

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Holmes

@vic

"Show me where in that it says that you have to 'ship the source, or make it available'..."

IANLA, but what Mr. Gumby (Hello!) wrote seems like an accurate paraphrasing of section 3 to me:

3. You may copy and distribute the Program [...] provided that you also do one of the following:

3(a) - Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code [...]; or,

3(b) - Accompany it with a written offer [to provide a machine readable version of the source code]; or,

3(c) - Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code [for noncommercial distributions].

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html#section3

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Vic
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@AC

> IANLA

That much is apparent...

> what Mr. Gumby (Hello!) wrote seems like an accurate paraphrasing of section 3 to me:

It is not.

> 3(b) - Accompany it with a written offer

This is the point: 3(b) requires a *written offer* to produce source on demand. It does not require the immediate production of source - it requires a *written offer* to produce it.

Thus 3(b) distribution does not require any source to be transmitted until and unless some asks for it.

This is why Naughton's arguments are such utter bollocks - failing to put source up for download is not non-compliance; failing to produce it should someone ask for it would be.

Now it is clear that by far the simplest way of ensuring compliance is just to stick it on a web site, but that doesn't mean that a more labour-intensive mmethod cannot *also* be compliant, should someone be suitably moronic to want to do it that way.

Vic.

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FAIL

'Some guy named Matthew'...

...could do with a bit better attribution, both here and in El Reg. He's a member of the Fedora engineering steering committee and a significant contributor to both Fedora and the upstream kernel. He's not exactly just an 'enthusiast', as El Reg puts it.

Of course, Matthew focuses his GPL compliance efforts on productively engaging with infringing companies, rather than self-publicizing, so it's not surprising that lazy journalists are less clued in about his stuff than about the garbage Edward Naughton puts out.

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Anonymous Coward

Er...

Theoretically you can ship someone the entire source code on paper and be in compliance.

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Mushroom

@Vic

"Show me where in that it says that you have to "ship the source, or make it available"... "

It doesn't do you any good if you make statements and clip only sub sections of the code.

You can see the entire GPLv2 here:

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html

In the preamble it says the following:

-=-

"To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights. These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.

For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights. "

-=-

While the preamble isn't the exact T's and C's, it does however show the clear intent on the burden of redistributing the source code or making it available.

If we go in to the T's and C's section 3 as a whole it says the following:

-=-

3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

-=-

As you can clearly see that section A says to ship the source code with the distribution.

Section B says if you don't ship the source code with the distribution you have to provide in writing an offer to provide the source code at their request for free. (This offer is good for 3 years and you can charge for S&H)

So as you can see, RIF.

BTW, I thought I was being clear that if you don't ship the source, but provide a link to your site where you host the source (for free) and document it, you would be in compliance. In fact that is in part of what the author of the list of tablets did do when he indicated their compliance.

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Boffin

@btf

Unless your computer can read and compile the code from paper, then the answer is no.

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Boffin

@Vic

While I admit to not being a lawyer, that doesn't mean I can't read a contract. ;-)

The reason I published the entire clause #3 is that you're again misinterpreting what you're reading.

Paragraph 3 has 3 sub clauses. The person distributing the code has to chose 1 of the 3 options.

A) You ship the code with your distribution.

B) You provide in writing an offer to produce the source code on request.

C) An option only reserved for non-commercial use of the code, but is based on your source being one from a source that exercised option B. (You should read it to understand it.)

Now you're suggesting that if someone makes a written request for the source code, you don't have to be responsive. That is not correct. I'm not suggesting that when you send a request that they ship your the source overnight via fed ex. The reasonableness is subjective and if you have the time to make the request and then sue, clearly they are not being responsive.

With respect to Naughton, It appears that these companies are not in compliance with sub clause A, B and since these are commercial enterprises C isn't an option.

The point you apparently are missing is that if you ship a product, you have to ship the code or a written offer. Having it available on your website for download would appear to satisfy sub clause A. Not having it available on your website, and not providing a written offer violates both sub clauses A and B.

Therefore these sites are not in compliance and are open to litigation.

And lets be clear. Just responding to a request for the source code isn't enough if you don't actually make the written offer to do so. You are still not in compliance with clause B.

Clearly reading and understanding what is written in a contract is not your strong suit.

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Stop

Re: Vic

Did the vendors include a written offer to provide a machine readable copy of the corresponding code?

If not, a subsection b defense would also be invalid, and they are in non-compliance.

Section 3 subsection b is quite clear on the matter, the offer MUST accompany the distribution. The offer MUST be made and it MUST be EXPLICIT. The problem in a subsection b defense isn't the time frame for providing the code, it's if no offer accompanied the binaries.

Of course, this is the exact type of reason many vendors prefer BSD.

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Vic
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And again..

> It doesn't do you any good if you makestatements and clip only sub sections of the code.

It doesn't do you any good to quote largepassages and ascribe to them meaning whch simply is not there. You are making his up.

> In the preamble it says the following

Where in what you have quoted does it say what you claim? You are making up meaning which simply is not within the text you are quoting.

Next, you quote section 3. What bearing do clauses 3(a) or 3(c) have on any of this? We were discussing 3(b) distrbution, so you are simply quoting extraneous information. This would appear to bear the hallmarks of aweak argument.

But let's look at 3(b) because that *is* relevant. It requirs a *written offer* of source. Look through the words -a *written offer*. See if you can find anything in that clause that requires more than a *written offer* of source - such requirements are conspicuous by their absence. Your repeated attempts to claim more than is in the licence are simply not backed up by the text that is there. 3(b) does not requre you to post code until someone asks for it, and claims that a failure to have a download site equates to non-compliance are simply wrong. The licence just does not say what you claim, however repeatedly or verbosely you claim it.

> Section B says ... you have to provide in writing an offer to provide the source code

Finally, you've said something correct. But note that it does NOT say that you have to post any code unless you are asked for it; this clause does not support your argument, just like it doesn't support Naughton's.

> So as you can see, RIF.

Indeed it is. Please do read wha is there in the licene, rather than just relying on the voices in yer heid again.

> BTW, I thought I was being clear that if you don't ship the source, but provide a link to your site where you host the source (for free) and document it, you would be in compliance.

No-one has argued any different. But what you haverepeaedly missed - as did Naughton - is that if you *don't* ship the source and you *don't* provide a download link, you can still be in compliance, because the licence does not require that link, it requires a *written offer* to supply source on demand, not before.

Please go and do the reading you exhort others to do; your comprehension skills appear to be somewhat lacking.

Vic.

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Alien

@Vic

You're making a lot of fuss about a written offer making the software compliant. Could you please define written in legal terms? I think you'll find that written needs to be literally just that, eye readable on a piece of paper. In which case any software distributed electronically cannot comply with GPL2, not even if it has a file for you to print out, unless the source code is available either with the distrubution or over the net.

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Vic
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Oh dear...

> While I admit to not being a lawyer, that doesn't mean I can't read a contract. ;-)

I beg to differ.

> The reason I published the entire clause #3 is that you're again

> misinterpreting what you're reading.

Well, one of us is. Let's see how this pans out, shall we?

> Paragraph 3 has 3 sub clauses. The person distributing the code has to chose

> 1 of the 3 options.

Yes. Right so far One of the three.

3(a) and 3(c) are not relevant to ther situation - as I've already pointed out - so repeating them is jsut excess verbiage; it serves no purpose whatsoever, as we're not talking about 3(a) distribution, and nor are we talking about 3(c) distribution. One can only wonder at your reasons for thinking either 3(a) or 3(c) relevant to a discussion about 3(b). You can read a contract, can you not?

> B) You provide in writing an offer to produce the source code on request

Correct. Now look at what you have written: section 3(b) compliance requires *** A WRITTEN OFFER *** to produce source code *** ON REQUEST ***. See if you can spot, anywhere within section 3(b) a requirement to do anything more. Got one? Of course you haven't, because it isn't there. Section 3(b) requires the distributor to supply *** A WRITTEN OFFER *** to supply code on request. I does *not* require the distributor to supply code straight away - only on request. If you think this wrong, show the words that prove it. Got any? Of course you haven't, because they're not there.

> Now you're suggesting that if someone makes a written request for the

> source code, you don't have to be responsive.

I am suggesting nothing of the sort.

If you'd read what I actually posted - rather than what you imagine I did - you'll see that nowhere have I even intimated that it is acceptable to be unresponsive to requests for code under the written offer made during a section 3(b) distribution.

What I have said - what I am still saying - is that the offer does not need to be fulfilled until and unless a request for the code is made.

Thus claiming that a distributor is non-compliant because he has not publicly posted source is incorrect.

> With respect to Naughton, It appears that these companies are not in

> compliance with sub clause A, B

That's Naughton's claim - and as I've pointed out, it's a bogus claim. If Naughton has asked for code and been rebuffed, that would be a violation. If Naughton has failed to find a download site, that is not.

> The point you apparently are missing is that if you ship a product, you have

> to ship the code or a written offer

The point *you* are missing is that if you ship a product, you have to ship the code or a written offer. See the "OR" in the middle of that? That's good, because that's a word that actually is there. Moreover, that written promise needs to be fulfilled if it's ever called in. But if it isn't called in, then not passing the source to anyone is not a violation of the licence.

> Not having it available on your website, and not providing a written offer

> violates both sub clauses A and B.

But no-one is talking about not making the written offer. That's something that's come from the voices in yer heid. You might like to talk to someone about those...

Not having the code available no your website, but making the requisite written offer constitutes compliance with the GPLv2 section 3(b). And that's all there is to it, really...

> Therefore these sites are not in compliance and are open to litigation.

Do you have evidence that they are not making the written offer?

> Clearly reading and understanding what is written in a contract is not your strong suit.

Oooh, once again you make claims about the comprehension capabilities of others when the real problem is a combination of your inability to follow basic logic and your desire to fabricate information about what other people are doing.

Vic.

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Vic
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@Oninoshiko

> If not, a subsection b defense would also be invalid, and they are in non-compliance.

That is correct.

But if they have made the offer, they are in compliance - at least until someone requests the code.

Easy, isn't it?

Vic.

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Vic
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@ Chris W

> You're making a lot of fuss about a written offer making the software compliant.

Yes. That's because that is the wording of the licence.

> Could you please define written in legal terms?

No. That's up to you to get sorted out. I'm just reiterating what the licence *says*, rather than what some people would have you believe it says. These are not my words...

Vic.

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@Vic

>I'm just reiterating what the licence *says*

No you are not "just" reiterating you are going further. Clause 3b may make provision for not distributing nor publishing source code but here in the real world can you name one piece of GPL licensed software that comes with a written offer as provided for by clause 3b?

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It *IS* easy (when you ignore the point)

You didn't answer my question, you just supposed they provide a offer, let me re-ask the important part:

Did these companies always provide a written offer to supply the code upon request?

If they did (at all times), they are good.

If they did not at any point, their license was revoked. If so they have to contact every copyright holder and secure a new license (which was really the part of the article that was surprising to me.

If there was or was not a request is irrelevant unless the offer has been made. This is an honest question, I don't own any of these companies products, and haven't read the paperwork that came with the phones purchased by others so lack even anecdotal evidence to this effect.

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Vic
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@Chris W

> No you are not "just" reiterating

Yes, I am.

> you are going further.

Not so.

> here in the real world can you name one piece of GPL licensed software

> that comes with a written offer as provided for by clause 3b?

Irrelevant. That few (if any) distributors choose the difficult way of complying with the licence does *not* mean that that method is non-compliant.

Of course everyone sane just ships the code on a web site - that makes more sense than anythnig else. But that does *not* mean that doing it differently constitutes non-compliance - it simply doesn't. It constitutes idiocy, but that's not a GPL violation.

Vic.

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Vic
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@Oninoshiko

> you just supposed they provide a offer

I have no reason to believe otherwise. If you have evidence, do post...

> If so they have to contact every copyright holder and secure a new license

Yes. This is true.

But because the Free Software community is interested in enabling distribution, rather than preventing it, I'm unaware of an instance where such a re-licencing was not forthcoming, once any violations had been sorted out.

> so lack even anecdotal evidence to this effect

As do most people. Shall we presume these people innocent unless evidence of their guilt comes along?

Vic.

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g e
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Meh

Why pick on Android (though it is Open Season, of course)?

What about gear like routers, Tivo's, satnav's, and a gazillion other hi-tech widgets which run on something Linux.

I think this guy just wanted some free advertising or his Warhol15.

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Devil

Why pick on it?

100% of the Android devices in my house are in GPL breach. There are binary drivers linked into the kernel which do not have the source published and the kernel is modified without the patches published either.

I suspect the rest of the Android ecosystem is not any different from what I have on my desk.

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Linux

Re: Meh

Google saying Android is "open" does not make it exempt from the GPL. (What "open" means for Google is open for debate)

If you know more non-GPL complaint products, feel free to contact the authors and warn them about those license infringements.

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Looks like he is bored of chasing ambulances...

...and using the same 'skills' on another route.

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Trollawyer

Maybe he's hoping that if he bashes Android enough then The Cult of Jobs will offer him a highly paid job to stir up superFUD.

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WTF?

another slow news day

1: a casual glance at the list confirms what I expected, a long list of piss poor, low end devices thrown together in Chinese sweatshops are non-compliant. Good luck convincing the Chinese to do anything about that and try not to be surprised if none of us are surprised. After all these shady companies tried building fake Android devices before realising they could just grab the real thing!

2: the GPL doesn't specify a time limit on supplying source and it's (unfortunately) fairly common for it to take a few weeks. There's slop in the system because of that and swift enforcement isn't really an option.

3: to date many companies have had to be nudged into releasing the source *faster* by eager modders. There's been no panic from copyright holders and very little feeling any of the companies within reach of the law aren't going to comply eventually.

4: Naughton misrepresents how enforcement is usually handled. Delay too long and yes, the licence is declared void but getting compliant and saying 'sorry' almost always get's it reinstated - albeit often with a legally binding agreement not to do it again. Less of a time-bomb, more of a rubber mallet to compel compliance!

There will be companies that flout the licensing and inevitably some will be within reach of our courts and end up on the wrong end of a court.

That's not a specifically Android problem, that's the same corporate theft a long succession of scumbags have tried ever since the GPL was created. It's sad that the Reg's ongoing war against Android has sunk to this level. Couldn't you find a real story to beat on Google and/or Android with?

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Slow news day?

The story "Google buys Motorola" was put on El Reg two minutes before your post. Slow news day it isn't!

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Boffin

Uhmmm.

"2: the GPL doesn't specify a time limit on supplying source and it's (unfortunately) fairly common for it to take a few weeks. There's slop in the system because of that and swift enforcement isn't really an option."

No it doesn't, however there is an implied reasonableness.

Please understand what it would take for someone to raise a lawsuit against said company that is in violation...

1) A written request has to be made asking for the source and notifying said company that they are not in compliance with the GPL.

2) There has to be some amount of time for said company to respond to the letter.

3) Person goes to lawyer. Repeats step 1 & 2

[Note: They could go directly to a lawyer...]

4) Lawyer files lawsuit and starts the process rolling.

I don't know what fantasy world you live in, but it takes time to start a lawsuit.

With respect to point 4:

"4: Naughton misrepresents how enforcement is usually handled. Delay too long and yes, the licence is declared void but getting compliant and saying 'sorry' almost always get's it reinstated - albeit often with a legally binding agreement not to do it again. Less of a time-bomb, more of a rubber mallet to compel compliance!"

Naughton isn't misrepresenting anything.

To your point, one way to end litigation is to become compliant. But that does mean that you are open to litigation in the first place. And that's the point.

I like the GPL and GPL friendly companies like Apple. They modded the Gnu C compiler to handle Objective-C so they gave back their modded version. They played by the rules and we all prospered.

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Absurd

This entire story is frankly absurd!

Most of the major Android players (e.g. HTC, Samsung etc) do comply with the GPL although often not as quickly as perhaps they should.

To say this "threat" is hanging over Android, is a nonsense because all any individual phone/tablet manufacturer needs to do to comply with the GPL is publish the kernel source which isn't exactly rocket science.

Also, did the author of this article even look at the link which shows the list of GPL compliant/breaching list of tablets? It's so woefully out of date it's untrue (no Xoom, Transformer, GTab 10.1 etc), and when you look closely you'll see that the vast majority of the tablets in breach are the cheapo no-name Chinese clones who basically don't give a monkeys about the GPL.

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Ru
WTF?

I've never really understood

Why people didn't just use something like NetBSD instead. Free and open source, but very liberally licensed indeed. Sure, it might not be quite as capable as its linux equivalents in various situations, but then neither is android.

Given the stress involved with handling the GPL in a corporate environment that has to deal with inconvenient things like closed source drivers for some system components it would seem like a bit of a no-brainer... especially given the money and talent available to google.

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Because

NetBSD is not supported by driver / chipset companies who usually provide SDKs based on WinCE and Linux. If NetBSD were compelling for its licence it would be the defacto choice for such solutions already. As a general point it's nowhere near as robust, world proven as Linux either and is probably severely deficient especially for multicore architectures.

Anyway there is nothing to stop Android switching it were proved to be worth it. The entire userland of Android is BSD based and I expect most apps really don't know or care what kernel is underneath it all. Google would make the appropriate changes and throw a BSD kernel and userland would be much the same.

In this instance the "violation" is a big deal about nothing. The noname chinese knockoff dists are in violation by not offering the kernel source, but then again they probably just grab and build the kernels straight from the Android repository. So yeah they're in violation, no there isn't any amazing trade secrets behind it all.

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Every manufacturer?

If you look at that list every manufacturer you've ever heard of (with the single exception of Archos) is compliant. The rest are mostly obscure Chinese companies that make tablets and ... tablets. Good luck suing them.

The arguments about license laundering are equally silly: if Google reimplements the functionality of GPL'd code then their code is, unless you can prove direct copying, different code - no licence issues arise. So again - good luck with your lawsuit. You'll be needing it.

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Vic
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Re: Every manufacturer?

> every manufacturer you've ever heard of (with the single exception of Archos) is compliant

Archos has a download site at http://www.archos.com/support/support_tech/updates_gnu.html?country=us&lang=en - is this not compliance?

> good luck with your lawsuit. You'll be needing it.

Exactly.

Vic.

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Boffin

@Vic

Again, reading is fundamental. According the the site that has the list, Archos is compliant on all but one product. the Archos 7.

Thus Archos isn't in full compliance and has potential litigation issues. However I think the point is that there are other companies that are not compliant at all.

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Vic
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@Gumby...

> According the the site that has the list, Archos is compliant on all but one product. the Archos 7.

I'm not overly familiar with the Archos line of products, but http://www.archos.com/support/download/software/sources/Archos7HT_GPL.tgz would seem to be the GPL components of the Archos 7 HT.

> Thus Archos isn't in full compliance

You've not demonstrated that. You've just reiterated someone else's claim - which might well be wrong.

Vic.

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Black Helicopters

@Vic

At the risk of repeating what several other comments have pointed out: making the source available is NOT ENOUGH. In addition, you MUST provide a written notice of availability, and it would be no surprise to me if this notice was missing from the documentation (that is itself usually missing) from the packaging of many new devices.

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Vic
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@ First Dave

> you MUST provide a written notice of availability

That's what I've been arguing...

> it would be no surprise to me if this notice was missing

If you have evidence of transgression, go ahead and post it. Supposition really doesn't cut the mustard.

Vic.

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Anyway, aren't pure clones okay?

If I just install some standard Linux distro on a PC, even to sell the PC, I don't think I'm obliged to hand around the source code. I may not -have- the source code. I could be wrong about that.

Aren't the minor Chinese Android tablet mawkers doing the same thing - just installing standard Android OS onto their devices?

As witness, the enthusiasts who take and install a newer edition of Android on the same devices. I'm not sure about the legality of that - nor about Android 3 being not-yet-open source - but that it can be done at all, demonstrates that the hardware is standard and the software essentially unchanged, imo.

The -point- of GPL is that typical use of the software -isn't- licence-encumbered. There is a licence, which is intentionally a non-encumbering one, except that if you want to encumber your copy of the software, the licence encumbers you from doing so.

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pure clones not okay

If you "distribute" GPL-licensed binaries, you must meet the criteria for making the source code available.

If you install a standard Linux distro on a PC, then sell the PC, that would normally count as noncommercial distribution so you can just include information on where to find the source code. That option is not available to commercial distributors--they must either include the source or else a written offer to provide the source to anyone that asks.

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Vic
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Re: Anyway, aren't pure clones okay?

> If I just install some standard Linux distro on a PC, even to sell the PC

If you sell it, that's likely considered a commercial distribution. Thus section 3(c) of GPLv2 doesn't apply

> I don't think I'm obliged to hand around the source code.

You are. Both section 3(a) and section 3(b) require you to hand out source code, either with the binaries (for 3(a)) or on demand (for 3(b)).

3(c) - which allows you just to point at your upstream provider - is only available for non-commercial distribution.

> I may not -have- the source code.

You need to get it. You may not redistribute commercially without it. Luckily, either you were given it with your binaries, or else you have a right to ask your upstream provider for it. Possibly both.

> I could be wrong about that.

You are.

> Aren't the minor Chinese Android tablet mawkers doing the same thing

Doesn't matter. If they are not distributing source, or at least offering to do so, they are in violation of the licence. That can be fixed[1] - but it needs action.

> The -point- of GPL is that typical use of the software -isn't- licence-encumbered.

Well - that's *one* of the points. The other is that GPL software cannot be made proprietary. I see that as rather more important.

Luckily for all of us, compliance with the GPL is *easy*. It amazes me how much effort certain companies will expend in trying - and ultimately failing - to circumvent the GPL.

Vic.

[1] GPLv3 alllows for automatic reinstatement of licence benefits once any violations have been sorted out. It was considered a bug in GPLv2 that such automatic reinstatement was not possible - nevertheless, the copyright owner is entirely capable of reinstating rights under GPLv2 once he has decided that and transgressions have been put right.

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Linux

make more profit, sell the source

I don't see why you couldn't do this, if you sell PCs:

1 "super-business" PC with Super Business Linux(*) pre-installed ₤ 1000

box of Super Business Linux installation DVDs (for just in case) ₤ 25

box of Super Business Linux source code DVDs (recommended

for legal reasons) ₤ 25

(*) Super Business Linux = xubuntu with a different background

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FAIL

really??

Some people are missing the fact that google did release GPL source code for android 3.x. Only apache license code is not released yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Did you read the article?

That may be fine from Google's side, but that not where the problem is.

Are the actual Android distributors (HTC, Samsung, etc) distributing the source code for the GPLed software they include on their products, as required by the license?

Seems they aren't.

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Vic
Silver badge

Re: Did you read the article?

> Are the actual Android distributors (HTC, Samsung, etc) distributing the source code

HTC have quite a bit at http://htcdev.com/devcenter/downloads

Samsung has https://opensource.samsung.com/

So yes, they do appear to be distributing source. I've not checked compliance for every single binary they ship, but they do appear at least to be attempting to comply.

Vic.

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Vic
Silver badge

Chinese manufacturers...

> It's the Chinese cowboys that know they're beyond the reach of law that aren't bothering.

I'm not sure about that; my experience of dealing with Chinese manufacturers is that they frequently do not understand their obligations.

I was buying in rather nice little embedded PCs for a while. They ran a Linux distro that the manufacturer had rolled together - which was good, because the CPU wasn't *all* that x86-compatible. But when I asked for source, they just pointed me at their upstream - they believed that to be sufficient until I had a few words...

> I'm still struggling to understand why the Register sold it's soul like this.

There was an article the last time Naughton opened his trap. Not quite so uncritical that time, though.

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

@Vic

Please re-read the article, especially the section mentioning the list of non-compliant hardware maintained by Matthew Garret.

Apparently they are withholding important parts of the system.

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Vic
Silver badge

@AC (why is it always ACs..)

> Apparently they are withholding important parts of the system.

If any manufacturer is witholding GPL code, then that is an issue FOR THAT MANUFACTURER. It is not a "legal time-bomb for Android". It is simply a copyright issue the same as using any non-licenced code would be. It is not an Android problem.

Vic.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

SFLC lawyer puts Naughton right

On Groklaw, at http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20110815131443415

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